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Take Time to Settle

January 21, 1990

In "Know Your Rights, Obligations If Home Is Damaged by Fire" (Dec. 31), Merle Henkenium wrote: "Don't settle before knowing extent of cost." That is certainly a rule that should be followed.

We had extensive water damage a few years ago and learned that water damage is insidious and doesn't always show up right away! Our insurance agent was anxious to settle our claim as quickly as possible, and we finally agreed, not realizing that we would no longer be covered when other water-damage problems surfaced.

Our rugs were soaked, and the insurance company had a rug cleaning service dry them out. But within a year, we discovered that water-soaked rugs cannot be fixed with drying. . . . The backings fell to pieces and the rugs had to be replaced. Ceilings were repainted but the paint kept peeling off because the water had softened the base. We ended up having to re-stucco, tile or have acoustical ceiling texture applied, though this was not our decorating choice.

MRS. FRED HAUTER

La Canada Flintridge

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